We had the best time popping down to Bal Harbour (Miami Beach), Florida last month. We actually booked the trip the day before we left! People always say to not be spontaneous when traveling with little kids, but it totally worked for us this time around! I had just enough time to run out to the stores and pick up a couple vacation items for the kids, get my nails done and get everyone packed up! Thank goodness for my considerate hubby, who watched the kids while I got those last minute errands done.
Below, I included several of the kids’ looks from our trip, but, before I do that, I wanted to share my best tips for traveling with toddlers! Please leave a comment with a travel tip that you swear by!
Tips for traveling with little ones:
- Ditch your stroller and rent one there! When we were first started traveling with Peter, I used to pack up our umbrella stroller and deal with shoving it in the travel bag while checking it at the gate. It was always a hassle and a juggling act when you are holding on to everything else and a baby. The final straw was when I was traveling home with the two kids from Seattle to Chicago by myself, and the double umbrella stroller took about 20 minutes to show up at our arrival gate, and when it finally appeared, one of the wheels was completely busted. Since then, I’ve been renting either a double Bugaboo or double Bob stroller from a local rental company. It is the best thing to have that stroller waiting for you when you arrive at your destination and know that it is a quality stroller that you don’t have to worry about breaking on the plane. If you have trouble finding a rental company, ask the concierge in advance. In South Florida, I recommend using StrollAway. [Side note: we now have Peter walk through the airport since he is 3 years old and I carry Caroline on my hip, since she is over the carrier.]
- Have a fun bag for the plane ride… think Mary Poppins! This bag should include books (get thin paper back – lighter to carry), sticker books, magnets (enclosed in a box like this one), water wow “painting” pads, and mini toys (like trucks or figurines) that they have ideally never seen before, unless of course it is their favorite lovey or stuffed animal to sleep with. Speaking of lovey’s, I try to bring an extra one in my checked bag, so they aren’t sleeping with a dirty stuffed animal, or in case you lose one on the trip! As any mom knows, pack lots of snacks with you for that plane ride too. It’s always good to have little finger foods that aren’t messy, and a couple fresh items, such as blueberries and string cheese (that don’t need refrigeration right away). Sometimes I bright a little cooler so I can buy milk after security or bring yogurt and perishable items with you.
- Ship diapers and more to your destination! I’m a huge fan of diapers.com‘s free 2 day shipping and easy portal to find everything you need related to babies and toddlers. Whenever we are traveling for more than a long weekend, I have diapers, inexpensive toys, books, snacks and more shipped to the hotel or rental house. The kids love seeing what new exciting things they get to play with at their “temporary home” as Peter calls it, and you don’t have to waste space in your bags for bulky diapers.
- Be flexible with routine, but try to get in that afternoon nap! If you can swing it, I love having the kids fall asleep in the stroller while we are getting a little exercise. On this last trip it worked really well… they snoozed long enough for us to get a good walk in, plus some pool time, which included a cocktail and a little vacation for mom and dad 😉 The nice thing about them having a nap is that you know dinner will be a bit more relaxing for you.
- Plan for a date night in the room after the kids fall asleep! Once you put the kids down, go out on the balcony and enjoy some dessert, wine or just an uninterrupted conversation. If the kids are having trouble sleeping, another idea is to put a movie on and have the kids fall asleep while you watch and cuddle as a whole family. You can always bring a small card game for some late night entertainment, that ideally won’t wake the little ones.
Now, here are some looks from our winter getaway that I haven’t already featured…
Bathing suit: Bella Bliss (similar style here)
Broadcloth top and bloomer: Ralph Lauren